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Published: 2013/12/16
by Stu Kelly

Moon Taxi Go Acoustic

Moon Taxi are one of the most explosive bands touring the circuit right now. Wrapping up an incredibly successful year in 2013, we had a chance to catch up with Trevor Terndrup (vocals, guitar), Spencer Thomson (guitar, programming) and Tommy Putnam (bass) before a gig in Washington, D.C. We asked the band about their most recent album Mountains Beaches Cities, their evolving sound, Nashville origins and their new EP Acoustic on West 56th, which is set for release tomorrow.

Your new album Mountains Beaches Cities came out in September. What has it been like touring in support of it?

Trevor: Oh it’s been great. These songs are really finding their own path live. It’s been a fun challenge for us to kind of interpret them for a live setting and they’re still finding their own. That’s what we like to do, we like to put out the album and then re-interpret the songs in a live setting so it’s been fun.

Spencer you took a major roll producing this record, I guess Wes helped out too, tell me a little bit about what it was like working more behind the scenes in the studio.

Spencer: Well I kind of produced the last one ( Cabaret) too a little bit. I have a small background in recording and engineering it was a lot of fun.

Trevor: He was able to put songs together and able to create demos of some of the earlier songs on Cabaret. The first few that we cranked out were like “All The Rage,” “Southern Trance” and “Square Circles.” That was sort of like a new era for our writing because we weren’t writing in a collaborative sense. We weren’t writing in any sort of “jam room.” We were writing at the computer with Spencer at the helm. We were able to put together a really interesting sound. Just thinking about the process, more from like how are we going to capture a great studio song, as opposed to how are we going to kill this live. In the past, we were all about the live show so I think Mountains Beaches Cities was just a continuation of that with Spencer taking a larger role as an executive producer and Wes taking a huge role as a vocal producer. Wes sits with me and makes sure we get the best takes. Wes is that other set of ears that are really important for us.

Spencer: I guess one thing that I like to do is see the transition to a finished project. I like to keep things on task and know what needs to happen at each stage. It’s really important to keep things on track and that’s something that I really like doing.

Trevor: He keeps us organized. He keeps us on schedule. Literally. I heard this awesome quote from Joe Walsh, he said if they had Pro Tools back in the day they would still be working on Hotel California. We have these resources now, we have Logic and Spencer is great at recording us.

When Melodica came out it was so raw and it really captured your sound at its core; it was more of a jam-oriented record. Then you had this jump with Cabaret and I’m sure releasing a live album ( Live Ride) helped. Now continuing that trajectory on to Mountains Beaches Cities, do you ever feel a responsibility to cater to a certain demographic?

Spencer: I think the simple answer is no. That’s not the way we think about it, we just want to make good music that we like. Obviously we care about the reaction of the crowd at our shows. But we don’t think about it like that.

Tommy: For every 1,000 fans that we gain, we’re bound to lose one. We’ve talked about that. Being a band that grows and changes their sound a little bit, you’re going to have people that don’t like you anymore. It happens to every band.

Trevor: We used to be two feet in the jam world and now we’re one foot in the jam world and one foot in a broader world.

Tommy: I think that if we catered to a certain type of fan we wouldn’t have grown musically.

Trevor: Yeah, we just want to make music that’s more universally accepted. While still taking it out there and stretching the limits of what we can and can’t do. I think it’s about being open-minded. We’ve had fans that have been with us since the beginning with Melodica, I think you’re one of those people.

My first show was in 2008 in Oxford when you played with Zoogma at The Lyric and there was like 10 of us there. When you came back a year later at Proud Larry’s it was one person in, one person out. So I definitely feel like I’ve seen you mature and come a long way.

Trevor: Thanks man Oxford has always been really good to us.

Spencer: There’s no telling what we could sound like next.

Trevor: Yeah definitely, I wouldn’t be opposed to putting out another jam album.

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